Attack ads work two ways: They undermine the attacked person with the public, and they energize the base and generate donations.
Stephen Harper may not be worried about the general public at the moment. This may be aimed at the Conservatives’ base.
Ruth Haworth, Waterloo, Ont.
How saddened I was to read your editorial Fight Fire With Fire Or Look Weak (April 16). Hard to believe that The Globe cannot get its head far enough above the muck of “modern” politics to see there might be another way forward. Sure, Canadians want a fighter as a leader, but that doesn’t necessarily mean a mud wrestler!
Responding to attack ads doesn’t demonstrate leadership, it only gives away the control of the political agenda and creates constant interference with a greater vision and/or message.
Justin Trudeau is not a great leader yet, and has much to prove. History shows us that truly great leaders, such as Martin Luther King, Gandhi and even our own Lester Pearson, had much more to do than just trash their attackers. Surely the “greater purpose” still has a role to play in modern politics.
I have to believe Canadians are not so blind as to be unable to discern direction from distraction.
I am disappointed that my Globe and Mail does not seem to believe in the strength of Canadian insight.
David Pyper, North Dumfries, Ont.
These kinds of ads have pulled politics in Canada into a sad and dark place, akin to the environment in the U.S.
If political discourse in Canada has been debased, the Conservative Party has contributed more than its fair share to that process.
Shaun Narine, Fredericton
Lose the “boo hoo, the Tories are so mean” script. Justin Trudeau needs to get meaner. Punch back. He’s proved he can do it in a boxing ring. So do it in a political one.
Rachel Simmons, Halifax
Will these attack ads spur backlash? Absolutely. Stephen Harper has had a good run. It’s time for a change. The Conservatives don’t have much imagination if this is all they can do after so many years in power.
Bernard Laliberte, Napanee, Ont.
Political ads (and especially attack ads that aim to ridicule political figures) should be banned outside of designated election periods. The perpetrators of attack ads (irrespective of political affiliation) are beneath contempt.
Martin de Vries, Gatineau, Que.
It is time for all Canadians, no matter what their political persuasion, to take a stand against all of this negative political advertising. It makes a mockery of the political issues and is demeaning to the Canadian public.
Ron McDougall, Toronto
Equating Conservative Party attack ads with political bullying, as many letter writers have done, is far-fetched. My dictionary defines a bully as one who hurts, frightens or tyrannizes those who are smaller or weaker, hardly an accurate description of Justin Trudeau. Mr. Trudeau’s response to these ads is obviously his choice based on his principles. He may, however, consider responding more as a Pierre than as a Justin.
Morris Karmazyn, London, Ont.
Our Prime Minister was quoted saying “bullying to me has a kind of connotation … of kids misbehaving.” The Conservative attack ads the morning after Justin Trudeau’s election were obviously produced long before the results of the Liberal leadership race were announced. How can we seriously hope to contain bullying when our leader is the most visible bully in the country?
Stephen Harper is not a kid and this is not simply misbehaving.
Robert W. Baron, Oshawa, Ont.
The Conservatives’ striptease attack ad finds fault with Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau’s active support of a charity event. I believe most people would prefer a party leader who will strip for charity, to one who is consistently stripping charities of support.
Edith Brown, North Saanich, B.C.
Attack ads discourage the rest of the general public from participating in the political process if that is how those who do participate treat anyone who disagrees with them.
Perhaps Justin Trudeau’s greatest threat to the federal Conservatives is that he has, for the moment at least, reached out to get more people excited and involved in politics, particularly youth and others with no previous interest or record of participation in the political process. I resisted the first version of Trudeaumania and am so far unconvinced by the second, but I applaud his success in reviving politics as it should be, a process to involve everyone in deciding our common future.
Danny Shea, Hamilton, Ont.
I think most of us aren’t objecting to some mudslinging, but we’d like to see it aimed at the processes, policies, goals and results of a party and/or a government and not aimed at destroying a person’s character through savage and sometimes spurious personal attacks. The former is politics; the latter is bullying.
Sheila Bannerman, Red Deer, Alta.
On April 7, Rehtaeh Parsons was taken off life support and succumbed to wounds suffered in a suicide attempt. She was the victim of cyberbullying.
A week later, the Conservative Party launched a vicious online campaign against the newly elected Liberal Leader. The ads feature video of Justin Trudeau removing his shirt and contain messages that disparage and devalue him. This kind of video is cyberbullying, pure and simple. How can we hope to keep young Canadians from engaging in cyberbullying if our nation’s leaders cannot seem to stop themselves from launching such demeaning online attacks?
Janet McCulloch, Kingston
A Conservative ad asks whether Justin Trudeau has the judgment to become prime minister.
If he does, would Stephen Harper tell us?
Cass Simons, Toronto
Re So Many Promises, So Little Money (April 19): Why is “tax” such an ugly word?
Years of a well-funded U.S. Republican campaign to vilify it have been so effective that it has turned the left wing into converts on both sides of the border.
Without taxes, though, what kind of society would we live in?
Think of taxes as fees to a high-end country club or gym. You get what you pay for.
Cheryl McNamara, Toronto
Alexandra Maxwell, a foreign worker from the U.K. (Ottawa Cracks Down On Employers Who Abuse Program For Foreign Workers – front page, April 19), is quoted as saying: “When I first came here, there were newscasts all over about how Canada needed immigrants. Two years later, nope, let’s kick everyone out.”
We’re not kicking everyone out – just the temporary foreign workers who have overstayed their welcome.
Steve Smedley, Regina
Where to start with a story like When In Doubt, Ask The Crowd (Life & Arts, April 19)? Maybe with a comment on how the forces of marketing are overwhelming us with vapid choices. Or how capitalism can only survive by churning out products with minimal improvements.
Perhaps it shows a relentless urge to consume, no matter the cost. Or how smartphones and social media are infantilizing us with their algorithms.
Perhaps it’s enough to say that style has truly triumphed over substance.
Neil Macdonald, Toronto
One of these days
Re Ontario Liberals Display Sense Of Humour On Sky’s-The-Limit Spending (April 19): Or as the unforgettable Ralph Kramden would have bellowed on The Honeymooners, “To the moon, taxpayers!”
Walter Tedman, Kingston, Ont.